I hope that your Winter Holiday Break has been a restful and fun one. I have been lucky enough to visit with family, have some time for myself, and even get up to the mountains a couple of times. As I am poised to return to my role as an educator (because it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ most of the time), I want to focus on two things:
First: I want to say hello and connect with as many students (and colleagues) that I can. I want to remind students that they can feel that their school is also a home. Why do I say this? The winter break is a very different experience for all our students. For some it is a trip out of town with family, for others time to unwind and spend far too much time sleeping or playing video games. Perfect! For others, it is a time that is dreaded. Unfortunately the break is a time of anxiety and depression for some of our students. Just two days before Christmas, I attended a funeral in support of one of my best buddies, Len. He lost his father to a series of health issues that resulted in one of the worst Christmas’ he will ever remember. It surprises me how many students I am in direct contact with who have lost a parent. From my time as a bit of a loner in high school, I often hoped for the phone to ring for a social opportunity (that often didn’t come.) Our schools are communities where students are placed amongst hundreds of others and often that ‘buzz’ reminds them that they are not alone.
Second: From my last post on “eduResolutions” I want to really focus on the difference between building a knowledge base and learning life skills (critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, using the knowledge base) with my students. I want them to be able to make a learning framework for themselves that they can utilize today and tomorrow to get them from point A to B. My hope is that they will understand that the material covered in today’s classroom are like nails and the life skills are the know how to use them to make connections and fasten pieces together, and to build even larger learning frameworks.
Gravy: I decided to add this section also because there are simply a ton of things on my mind! The gravy pieces for my return to my role are to continue changing the face of homework and the Chris Wejr’s The Power of Positivity: The Friday 5 (please see my previous post.) Yes, I did assign homework over the holidays! Before any of you shoot me, I will tell you that it was simply two questions that I had a subset of my students respond to on our class Twiducate account:
What is LEADERSHIP to you?
How do you plan to show LEADERSHIP in 2011?
The goal was to have my students engaged in life skills learning over the holidays and at the moment, every student has submitted their own individual and unique response! I truly believe this type of learning outside the classroom is working and worthwhile because as I read their responses, they are well thought out (long and not just one sentence answers) and as I eluded to earlier, they are very different from one another. I truly hope your holidays were great.
Please feel free to leave a comment and thanks for reading!